64: Memory Lane

“Serge, could you be Rebecca’s friend? It’s really upsetting her that the two of you are not friends”

The headteacher stared at the 6 year old version of me that sat before him, unable to explain that the reason why I was no longer friends with Rebecca was because I had a huge crush on her and didn’t know how to deal with it so I chose to ignore her completely instead

“It really bothers her that the two of you no longer speak, that you pretty much ignore her even when she asks you a direct question” Rebecca’s mum weighed in

Yes, her mum was in the headteacher’s office too. Now, a much older version of me hates the concept that a little black boy was ambushed by grown adults without any other adults from his side present to support him in processing the situation

In the room was me, Rebecca, her mum and the headteacher. Unbeknownst to me, I had become a topic of conversation in Rebecca’s household due to the fact that I no longer spoke with her

Also unbeknownst to me, my actions were causing another person so much pain, all because I couldn’t process my real feelings for that person

I liked Rebecca a lot, as much as a 6 year old is able to have feelings for members of the opposite sex, I had those innocent feelings for her

She was a white red headed little girl and we were really good friends. I was really good friends with everyone, that’s what happens when you’re a popular kid

But just because a kid is popular, it does not make them confident or secure. I was anything but secure in myself back then

I held white people on a higher platform than me, purely because I didn’t know any better, so although I was the popular kid, I assumed white people were just better than me

And there I was, crushing on my white friend who I imagined to be better than me and assumed would out right reject me were I to reveal my feelings for her

So I did the only thing I knew to do, the only thing that a little boy with very little to no tools of self expression could do, I avoided her

I didn’t want to hurt her but I also didn’t want her hurting me either. I assumed the only way for me to have power in this situation was to keep myself to myself and away from her

Kids wanna be accepted

Ignoring someone is bad enough, being ignored by a popular kid is soul destroying because others follow suit

I didn’t know or have awareness of this at the time

I couldn’t recognise my meanness and self centred approach for what it truly was, a coping mechanism

Hurt people hurt people

I was a young black boy who went home to a loving and caring home but played and existed in a dangerous neighbourhood

I had no understanding of what inner city London was or the many dangers it had to offer me….just had nothing to compare it to, it’s were I grew up and lived so it was my entire reality

The big kids showed me affection, played football with me and made me tougher. It was fun, not dangerous

Becky came from a completely different background, the only thing we had in common was we went to the same school and somehow liked each others company

How could a little boy explain to the head of a school and in the presence of his crush and mother that the reason he couldn’t be friends with a fellow student was because he had a crush on her

I couldn’t

So I didn’t

I just shrugged my shoulders with my eyes mostly looking down

The meeting would end with both myself and Becky agreeing to be friends again

Like anything else that happens to a kid, that scene would quickly be forgotten by me and Becky and become friends we did

I would move schools shortly after that, only for Becky to join that same school a while later again

But that’s another story

I haven’t thought about that moment in a long time, it’s not like it’s a traumatic one or anything

But our behaviour even as adults are often learned from childhood

I wonder how often I ignore someone or something I want purely because I lack the confidence to at least acknowledge that I want it?

I wonder how often I overlook my actions and it’s potential effect on others purely because I’m only seeing things through my own lens of hurt, pain and fear of rejection

This is why I write

To express so I can excel

The more I reconcile all my experiences as stepping stones, the better I become at dealing with life

Be well

SRZ

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